Archive for October, 2014

Well, 2014 has apparently been the year of random health stuff happening. I’m not even sure where to start…

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Let’s just begin with the time before I went to Orlando, in a brief summary:

+ Rheumatologist was freaking out about my kidneys, and said I needed to see a nephrologist ASAP. And considering 1.) My father and his twin both died with kidney problems and 2.) even if I didn’t have a family history, my disease can damage my organs, including my kidneys. So this has been a giant scary red flag of dread.

+ My liver is also not behaving as it should be.

+ My thyroid and lymph nodes are also not my friends right now. So, more tests there.

+ Basically my body hates me.

Since I’ve gotten back:

+ I’m set up for a pre-surgery consult for my ovarian mass on November 10th. Finally getting rid of that sucker.

+ Thursday was a bunch of dental procedure stuff. And since I have an autoimmune disorder that likes to focus on my mouth, and the work needed to be done to not let that get worse, but the procedure itself causes problems… Let’s just say I’m not having the best recovery ever.

+ The specialist for my kidneys was not a fun day. Blood work and tests and just bad news. My kidney function seems to be fine, but there is still damage being done. A considerable amount considering my family and personal history. I follow up with that doctor November 6th. And he’s already told me he wants a kidney biopsy done, which will not be a fun time I’m sure.

I’m sure there are 8 billion other things that I can’t think of right now, because the brain fog is so intense right now, I feel like I’m never going to crawl out of it. But I figure everyone deserves an update on how my health misadventures are going.

Hopefully I can get my head clear in time to start NaNoWriMo this weekend, and make an attempt to enjoy my favorite holiday – Halloween.

 

~Angel

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“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”   –Jack London

I am walking a fine line between keeping my shit together, and hitting my breaking point. Literally the first week after my return was a series of bad news: health stuff, car stuff, work stuff, personal stuff – everything. There have been a few points that I’ve just crawled into bed, willing to accept defeat and not deal with the outside world anymore. My health is a giant mess, and probably the biggest problem since I’ve returned from Orlando. I pushed off a lot of appointments, tests, procedures, etc until after my vacation, so I wouldn’t be sore and so I wouldn’t be stressed about results of anything. But the day after I came back, I saw the nephrologist for my kidneys, because they’re being damaged, and it’s only gotten worse from there. But I will do a proper post on that junk separately once I know a little bit more about what’s going on. youwillfeel Yet, despite everything, I am trying to continue forward. Writing and drawing and working on my photography, like I should be. I won’t pretend, though, that there haven’t been days I’ve doubted myself, and thought that maybe it is time to grow up and be a responsible adult, go for something else in school, and get a real career instead of relying on all these dreams. But something about that changed on Friday, when my mom had mentioned to someone (that doesn’t know me) all of the things I do outside of my day job, and all of the accomplishments I had so early on. When the person asked me why I’m not actively pursuing my writing and everything, I shrugged and told them “I am, but I just work too much.”

And that has been eating at me. When did I really become that person?

My health and my dreams and my relationships all suffer because I work too much. At what point did a job I took to just make a little extra money become four years of my life and my main focus? Because this is not what I want to be doing the rest of my life. Not even close. Yet, here I am.

I can very easily compare it to the Jack London quote at the beginning of this post. I am rotting. I am becoming dust. I used to feel like I was becoming someone, and I let it all start slipping away. I’m ashamed of myself for it. I would much rather be ashes than dust. I would rather live than exist. And if my spark is to die out, I’d rather it be after a brilliant blaze than suffocated in rot.

Well, I'm 24, but still.

Well, I’m 24, but still.

I’m not afraid of dying at this point. I’m afraid of just existing, instead of living. I’m afraid that my time will suddenly be up, and I won’t have anything to show for it. The travels help. The occasional little steps forward in writing and art and photography help. But I’m ready for really feeling like I’ve done something.

It’s time to dust myself off and keep going. Everything will be okay.

~Angel

Please Note: All photos in this post are mine, and I haven’t had time to properly watermark any. Don’t take any without my consent or proper credit, please.

On that note, prepare for A LOT of photos.

I’ve been going to Orlando once a year for the past three years now, since I first started to get sick. It’s been my happy little escape from the chaos of the world I normally inhabit. But, I normally go in late Spring or Summer, so this was my first trip down when the Halloween festivities are taking place at Universal Studios and Walt Disney World.

I’m going to break this up into at least two posts, starting now with Universal Studios (which was the beginning of and best part of the entire trip.)

So, let’s begin, shall we?

I cannot talk about going to Universal in fall 2014 without mentioning that I FINALLY GOT TO SEE DIAGON ALLEY! And it was breathtaking.

King’s Cross Station, which is where you could board the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade.

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If you look around in London, whether you’re a fan of the books or films, you can find a certain grumpy house elf peaking out of one of the windows. This was one of my favorite little details. You had to know he was there to look for him.

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It’s a dream come true to get to ride the Hogwarts Express finally. It’s a different experience depending if you ride it to Hogsmeade or to London. To Hogsmeade was probably my favorite.

Then, there is Diagon Alley itself:

IT MAKES THE SOUND OF THE BRICKS MOVING LIKE IN THE MOVIE AND IT MAKES ALL THE GEEKY OVERLOAD JOY HAPPEN.

IT MAKES THE SOUND OF THE BRICKS MOVING LIKE IN THE MOVIE AND IT MAKES ALL THE GEEKY OVERLOAD JOY HAPPEN.

I don't think I've seen a picture yet that truly does justice to that dragon. Wherever you stand, you think that could be a real dragon. The detail is mind-blowing.

I don’t think I’ve seen a picture yet that truly does justice to that dragon. Wherever you stand, you think that could be a real dragon. The detail is mind-blowing.

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I absolutely loved the Escape from Gringotts ride. I was lucky, because it was dead when I went to ride for the first time, and I was able to pretty much just walk straight onto the ride. And it was a great ride, from the line getting you into the story to the ride itself. I've heard mixed opinions. But I adored it.

I absolutely loved the Escape from Gringotts ride. I was lucky, because it was dead when I went to ride for the first time, and I was able to pretty much just walk straight onto the ride. And it was a great ride, from the line getting you into the story to the ride itself. I’ve heard mixed opinions. But I adored it.

Now, Universal Studios does something at their parks in September and October called Halloween Horror Nights. It’s basically where they set up somewhere around eight houses and, this year, four scare zones. They also have a few shows special for the night. And I was lucky enough to have a VIP pass to get into three of this years houses before the event itself. The houses I visited: Halloween, Dollhouse of the Damned, and From Dusk Till Dawn.

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Halloween: This is, indeed, based off oh John Carpenter’s horror movie, Halloween, about Michael Myers. It’s specifically focused on the first film, though there are nods to the other movies in the series – including Halloween 3, surprisingly enough.

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This seems like a random weird image, but it's from a section of the house that makes you feel like you're in the closet being attacked by Myers, and there are two shirts hanging in the closet paying homage to two former Halloween Horror Nights houses: Freddy Krueger's sweater, and to the right of that, Leatherface's white shirt.

This seems like a random weird image, but it’s from a section of the house that makes you feel like you’re in the closet being attacked by Myers, and there are two shirts hanging in the closet paying homage to two former Halloween Horror Nights houses: Freddy Krueger’s sweater, and to the right of that, Leatherface’s white shirt.

I was having a horror-movie-junkie fan girl moment in the entire Halloween house, but the next house – Dollhouse of the Damned – was probably my favorite house, because it was so visually stimulating. This house was a concept house rather than a house based off of a film.

Also: enjoy Universal's dumpsters.

Also: enjoy Universal’s trash cans.

 

This is probably my favorite picture I took on the entire trip.

This is probably my favorite picture I took on the entire trip.

 

I should probably take a moment to acknowledge my awesome guides through the houses: Alex (left) and Kyle (right). I adored these two, and it was such a blast to wander around behind the scenes with them. I wanna write their bosses and tell them they did a fabulous job.

I should probably take a moment to acknowledge my awesome guides through the houses: Alex (left) and Kyle (right). I adored these two, and it was such a blast to wander around behind the scenes with them. I wanna write their bosses and tell them they did a fabulous job.

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Alex and Kyle demonstrating a scare.

Alex and Kyle demonstrating a scare.

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There was another special guest from a former Halloween Horror Nights house hidden in Dollhouse of the Damned. Chucky from Child's Play.

There was another special guest from a former Halloween Horror Nights house hidden in Dollhouse of the Damned. Chucky from Child’s Play.

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The last house we visited behind-the-scenes that day was From Dusk Till Dawn, based off of both the original movie, but also very heavily inspired by the newer TV series. While it was a very cool house, it was probably my least favorite of the three.

Obviously, the bar was a bit censored from the original name.

Obviously, the bar was a bit censored from the original name.

I have less blurry pictures of her, but for some reason I really like the slightly blurry feel of this.

I have less blurry pictures of her, but for some reason I really like the slightly blurry feel of this.

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Someone isn't having a good birthday.

Someone isn’t having a good birthday.

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So, that night, after all the house photo-taking goodness, my mother and I got to attend Halloween Horror Nights 24. There are two shows, one is a Bill & Ted Halloween show, which we didn’t attend. But I did go to the Rocky Horror Picture Show live, and it was AMAZING. I love RHPS and the show was incredible. Probably one of my all time favorites I’ve seen.

Not the most incredible shot on my part, but I was way too distracted by the awesome.

Not the most incredible shot on my part, but I was way too distracted by the awesome.

There were also the four scare zones set up in the streets:

The Purge

The Purge zone

The Purge zone

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The Bayou of Blood:

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FACE OFF: In The Flesh (Make-up looks from the show, recreated by some of the artists from the show!)

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One of my favorite parts of Halloween Horror Nights was the MASKerade: Unstitched zone.

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I think it’s super underrated, because a lot of people were claiming it was boring. But I loved it. Yeah, I wasn’t shaking in my Stormtrooper Vans over people in gowns, on stilts, wearing masks. BUT it was so beautiful and eerie at night in such a fantastic way. It sent my artsy brain into overdrive. I was sketching a day or two later when I was doing laundry:

This will eventually be a super awesome spooky painting.

This will eventually be a super awesome spooky painting.

 

So, there you have it. The epic wonderful highlights of my two days at Universal. I will have a post in a few days about Disney World itself. Plus, lots of health updates – not the best of them, either. So stay tuned.

~Angel